I have just essentially finished a draft of a conference paper for later this week. As always, I write in a kind of fog, finding my meaning as I go. The result is more severely damaged than usual this time, and I have basically ended the paper on a completely different note than I started on. After having installed about five different things as the major theme along the way. So the process of writing went like this, essentially, and this is reflected in the complete draft I have now:
"This paper identifies foxes as the operative concept. But in fact, the great significance of this is that is about marigolds. Actually, the over-arching point of all this is humidifiers. One sees, thus, that this is most usefully read as a comment on whaling. Finally, the belatedness of the birthday emerges as the dominant concept."
Augh!!!! I have finally arrived at something I like ('the belatedness of the birthday') but the thought of revisiting and substantially revising the rest of this terrifically difficult paper to support that theme makes me want to tear my hair out.
So. I hate writing conference papers. There. I've said it. Something happens in the process that is different from when I just write, say, for publication. I wonder if this insane directionlessness that is much more characteristic of conference-paper-writing, for me, is the result of imagining my audience in a different way from the way I do when I write something that will not be presented aloud. I remain a very nervous presenter - that does not seem to be diminishing at all, unfortunately. And so I am wondering if those nerves play themselves out in an excessively jittery, unfocused approach to writing the actual papers for presentation.